2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
This in an evolving situation. Please continue to monitor our website so that you are abreast of any new developments.
- Additional guidance on adjusting ways to deliver pharmacy services (e.g. virtual delivery of pharmacy services) more information forthcoming.
- SCPP continues to work on surge capacity with respect to non-practising and retired members as well as the management of current students, both at SaskPolyTech and the University of Saskatchewan.
March 27, 2020 - SCPP Procedures for Modifying Pharmacy Hours
- Pharmacy operating hours on the SCPP website are being used by health system partners and public to support emergency preparedness planning across the province. Please visit the new webpage Modifying Pharmacy Hours for procedures to change hours of operation. Further information about the SCPP policy around adjusting pharmacy operations and operating hours can be found at Emergency Preparedness – Modifications to Pharmacy Operations and Hours.
March 27, 2020 - Privacy Concerns – Reporting Patients Not Complying with the Legal Requirement to Quarantine
- SCPP has been receiving inquiries from pharmacy team members regarding the reporting of patients to the police who are not complying with the new legal requirement (both Provincial and Federal under the Quarantine Act announced March 26, 2020) to quarantine themselves whether it be after a trip outside of Canada regardless of showing symptoms or when they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
- The section below from the Office of the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) speaks to the authority to disclose this information to law enforcement individuals. In addition, the privacy officer for each pharmacy should be familiar with the privacy documents on SCPPs website, specifically the Disclosure of Personal Health Information to Law Enforcement Authorities Guidelines for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians, that speaks to disclosing information to avoid or minimize danger to the health and safety of any person.
IPC Guide to HIPA
27(4) A trustee may disclose personal health information in the custody or control of the trustee without the consent of the subject individual in the following cases:
(a) where the trustee believes, on reasonable grounds, that the disclosure will avoid or minimize a danger to the health or safety of any person;
Disclosure of Personal Health Information to Law Enforcement Authorities Guidelines for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians
“Where, in the reasonable opinion of the member, the disclosure of personal health information is required to avoid or minimize a danger to the health or safety of the client, staff or any third party, the member may disclose the information without the consent of the client.”
March 27, 2020 - Use of Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®) and Azithromycin for COVID-19
- Please review the joint message to Saskatchewan’s Doctors, Registered Nurses/Nurse Practitioners and Pharmacists regarding the use of Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®) and Azithromycin for COVID-19.
March 27, 2020 - SHA Expanding Capacity for COVID-19
- The Saskatchewan Health Authority is expanding capacity to meet demand for future phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please review Saskatchewan Health Authority's communication.
March 27, 2020 - PAR & Notification to Patient's Provider
- Pharmacists must continue to use Pharmacist Assessment Records (PARs) for all prescribing and maintain them as per SCPP Record Keeping Requirements. However, in collaboration with CPSS and SRNA, during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists will no longer be required to fax the PAR to the patient’s primary prescriber to notify them of any prescribing (e.g. minor ailments, interim supplies), with the exception of PRP medications. Patient’s primary prescribers MUST continue to be notified via fax of any extension for PRP medications.
March 26, 2020 - Hydroxychloroquine and Inhalers
Health Canada shared the following:
- Hydroxychloroquine: On, March 23 a Tier Assignment Committee was convened and consensus was reached that a tier 3 shortage is anticipated. Health Canada is actively engaged with manufacturers to monitor existing supply and explore pathways for increased supply.
- Inhalers: DSU is actively engaged in monitoring supply with market authorization holders. A Tier Assignment Committee is scheduled for March 26. A multi-stakeholder call is being planned for March 26 with manufacturers, distributors, GPOs and Provinces/Territories to discuss supply conditions, explore allocation measures and need for increased supply.
March 25, 2020 - Vendor Software
- Transferring of CDSA Drugs in Pharmacy Software – Some pharmacies are unable to extend and transfer CDSA drugs due to the rules embedded in their pharmacy software. NAPRA has been working with vendors on a national level to ensure that the software system restrictions are modified to support the direction of the provinces during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the ability for pharmacists to do what they need to do with the CDSA drugs. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your pharmacy software vendor.
March 24, 2020 - Infection Control and Modifying Pharmacy Hours
Several new guidance documents have been created to provide further clarity and direction for pharmacies, including:
- Infection Control Guidelines to help pharmacies ensure that routine and advanced practices are in place to prevent transmission of communicable diseases and infections to the public and pharmacy staff. It also includes links to credible resources for extreme circumstances. Additional guidance is available on Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Hygiene and Cough Etiquette. Additional resources are posted on the SCPP website under the Resources section.
- Modifying Pharmacy Operations and Reducing Hours – Pharmacies have been adjusting their operations and hours to continue providing pharmacy services to the public. See Emergency Preparedness – Modifications to Pharmacy Operations and Hours for an outline of the steps to follow in the event that it is necessary to adjust pharmacy operations or operating hours. It is important that pharmacy managers notify SCPP and communicate this with the public. This information is being used by health system partners to support emergency preparedness planning across the province.
- Methadone and witnessed dosing and take-home doses: Meetings are occurring between CPSS/SRNA and SCPP as to the direction around management of OAT patients – Please check your emails for more information.
- CDSA section 56 exemption information was emailed and faxed out to all members on March 23. The section 56 exemption applies to all drugs listed in the schedules to the CDSA including but not limited to narcotics, controlled drugs, benzodiazepine and listed steroids. Please review the CDSA for all drugs listed in the schedules.
March 20, 2020
- In response to the evolving health risk posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Controlled Substances (OCS) is allowing temporary measures to reduce the likelihood of spreading COVID-19 between parties when taking delivery of narcotics, controlled drugs and restricted drugs while maintaining record keeping requirements.
March 19, 2020 - Section 56 Exemption
- To ensure that patients maintain access to controlled substances for medical treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Canada has issued a Section 56 Exemption for all drugs covered under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) to reduce regulatory barriers.
To implement these exemptions in accordance with provincial and federal requirements, the SCPP has been collaborating with Health Canada, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan (CPSS), Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association (SRNA), College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan (CDSS), Ministry of Health (MoH), Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) and Pharmacists Association of Saskatchewan (PAS).
When is the exemption in effect:
Although enabled by Health Canada, this exemption will come into force upon official notice from the SCPP, and expires on the earliest of the following dates:
- September 30, 2020;
- The date that it is replaced by another exemption; or
- The date on which it is revoked.
What does the exemption cover:
This exemption will permit:
- pharmacists to extend prescriptions;
- pharmacists to transfer prescriptions to other pharmacists;
- prescribers (i.e. physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists) to issue verbal orders (i.e. over the phone) to extend or refill a prescription; and
- pharmacy employees to deliver prescriptions of all CDSA drugs to patients’ homes or other locations where they may be (i.e. self-isolating).
Impact on Prescription Review Program (PRP)
The Ministry of Health and all of the partners in the PRP have agreed to temporarily suspended the requirement that all PRP drugs be prescribed in writing. This means that all prescriptions for any CDSA drug and those PRP Schedule I drugs can be verbally ordered by an authorized practitioner directly to a licensed pharmacist.
The SCPP is developing resources to ensure that members are aware of expectations and requirements, and to address barriers to patient care while still protecting the public of controlled substances.
We extend a huge thank you to all of our partners for working together to remove as many barriers as possible to ensure the patients of Saskatchewan can rely on the healthcare system to meet their healthcare needs.
March 19, 2020 - Sask. State of Emergency
- On March 18, the Government of Saskatchewan declared a provincial State of Emergency. This gives the government broad powers to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes measures like the ability to direct that property or equipment be deployed to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective immediately the government has directed that pharmacies must have processes to maintain a one to two metre of separation between people.
As part of Saskatchewan’s health care system, the government has assured the public that Saskatchewan pharmacies are open to help residents during the COVID-10 pandemic.
To assist with you your business continuity plans, the SCPP will continue to provide links to credible resources such as the CPHA Infection Control Poster available in fillable PDF format to use in your pharmacy.
The SCPP is also exploring virtual care options to provide pharmacy services by telephone, secure video link and other technology, and following up on availability of medical supplies and personal protective equipment for community pharmacies.
March 19, 2020
- Health Canada has released an advisory about steps it is taking to improve access to disinfectants, hand sanitizers, personal protective equipment and swabs. To help limit the spread of COVID-19 it has taken interim measures to allow products that do not meet the French/English language requirements for labelling. See Health Canada Advisory for more information.
March 18, 2020
- To ensure a continued supply of prescription medications, the Ministry of Health has issued a directive that Saskatchewan pharmacists must limit the number and quantity of prescription drugs dispensed.
Effective immediately, Saskatchewan pharmacists may only provide:
- A ONE MONTH supply (to a maximum of a 35 day supply) in a 28 day period for all drugs not on the Maintenance Drug Schedule;
- A TWO MONTH supply in a 55 day period for drugs on the Two Month Drug List;
- A 100 Day supply in a 95 day period for drugs on the 100 Day List.
This restriction applies to all prescriptions regardless whether the patient pays cash or has a private or public Drug Plan that pays for the prescription. The Ministry will be contacting private payers to notify them of this requirement.
Details from the Ministry of Health can be found in the Pharmacy Information Bulletin No. 722 and the letter from the Deputy Minister of Heath to Saskatchewan pharmacists.
Posters for pharmacies to print and communicate this change can be found here:
Document: Pharmacy Poster
Document: Protect Yourself and Others - Stop the Spread of Viruses
March 17, 2020
- In response to the shortage of hand sanitizer, Health Canada has advised that in response to the unprecedented demand and urgent need for disinfectants and hand sanitizers during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is excluding this bulk compounding from the requirements of the Food and Drug Regulations and the Natural Health Products Regulations within the context of the practitioner-patient relationship. Retail sale to the public likely does not satisfy this requirement and would require Health Canada authorization prior to the sale. However, should pharmacies choose to compound hand sanitizer, and make it available to the public (outside of the practitioner-patient relationship), Health Canada will not prioritize the enforcement of this condition, on the condition that:
- It be compounded by a licensed pharmacist within Saskatchewan; and
- It be created following a reputable formula such as that published by the World Health Organization (e.g. Guide to Local Production: WHO-recommended Handrub Formulations).
The SCPP supports the compounding of hand sanitizer to meet patient and professional practice needs at this time with additional expectations:
- It must be done by a licensed pharmacist or licensed pharmacy technician working with a pharmacist;
- Professional ethics of pharmacy professionals would be maintained at all times; and
- Once the shortage is resolved, all commercial manufacturing would cease.
- Ongoing meetings between the SCPP and the Ministry of Health continue. The Ministry of Health is aware of the shortage of personal protective equipment for community pharmacies and the public demand for medication stockpiling which could lead to drug shortages. The Ministry is following up on these concerns. The Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan is working with its members to gather PPE information. Updates will be provided as they become available.
- Thank you to those pharmacists who are educating the public about the risk of drug shortages due to unnecessary stockpiling. The Canadian Pharmacist Association has developed key messages to help explain the risks of medication stockpiling to the public.
March 13, 2020
- A new Emergency Preparedness Tools document has been prepared by SCPP to inform pharmacy professionals of the tools available to help them address the risks they may be identifying in their preparations to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Document: Emergency Preparedness Tools (updated March 18, 2020)
The College is working closely with the federal and provincial ministries of health, regulators and other health system partners to undertake the necessary planning to protect residents.
- SCPP met with Health Canada and the College of Physicians and Surgeons to discuss emergency planning measures for an exemption to allow pharmacists to prescribe narcotics and controlled drugs in Saskatchewan should it be needed.
- SCPP met with representatives from national and provincial pharmacy associations and regulators to provide updates and discuss areas for national action.
March 12, 2020
- Saskatchewan confirms its first presumptive case of COVID-19. See the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health article for more information: Saskatchewan Confirms Presumptive Case of COVID-19
March 11, 2020
- The World Health Organization (WHO) declares COVID-19 as a pandemic. See the World Health Organization (WHO) article for more information: WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 11 March 2020
March 6, 2020
- With the introduction of the novel coronavirus 2019 in Canada, the Ministry of Health is undertaking the necessary planning to protect residents from transmission, support the healthcare system in the event of confirmed cases, and provide stakeholders and the public with accurate information about the risk and provincial readiness.
Partners, including the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Saskatchewan Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority, are leading this work.
- Emergency Preparedness Tools (March 24, 2020)
- Emergency Preparedness Resource Kit (December 2016)
- Emergency Preparedness – Modifications to Pharmacy Operations and Hours (March 24, 2020)
- Modifying Pharmacy Hours of Operations Procedures (March 27, 2020)
- Infection Control Guidelines (March 24, 2020)
- Respiratory Hygiene and Cough Etiquette (March 23, 2020)
- Ethical Duty during an Emergency, Disaster or Pandemic (November 2016)
- Hand Hygiene (March 18, 2020)
- Bylaw Interpretation for Exemptions to Prescribing Authority (September 2019)
- Prescription Validity – When Prescriber No Longer Practising (September 2019)
- Pharmacy Closures (Temporary): Model Regulatory Policy Due to Pharmacist Absence
- Developing a Safe and Functional Collaborative Practice Agreement
- Prescription Regulations Summary Chart - Amendments During COVID-19 (March 25, 2020)
- COVID-19 Self Assessment for Testing
- Letter re Expanding Capacity for COVID-19 (March 27, 2020)
- Prescription Quantities Restrictions
- Prescription Drug Dispense Limits - Deputy Minister of Health
- Pharmacy Poster
- Protect Yourself and Others - Stop the Spread of Viruses
- COVID-19 Guidance: Residents Returning to Saskatchewan
- Self-Monitoring Information Sheet
- Self-Isolation Information Sheet
- Saskatchewan COVID-19 Preparedness Plan
- Social Distancing
- COVID-19 Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection
For more information, please see saskatchewan.ca/coronavirus.
- Requirements for Chain of Signatures in Light of COVID-19
- CDSA Exemption and Interpretive Guide for Controlled Substances
- Government of Canada Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak Updates
- Vulnerable Populations and COVID-19
- How to Isolate at Home When You Have COVID-19
- Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 – Wash Your Hands
- Loss or Theft Reporting
For more information, please see canada.ca/coronavirus.
- Safety Talk: Suspect/Confirmed COVID-19 Precautions Placement and Personal Protective Equipment
- Interim Infection Prevention and Control Measures
For more information, please see saskhealthauthority.ca.
- Infectious Control Poster - fillable PDF
- Explaining Risks of Medication Stockpiling to the Public
- Canadian Pharmacists Association warns against stockpiling medication in response to COVID-19
- What Pharmacists Need To Know About COVID-19 Video
For more information, please see https://www.pharmacists.ca/.
- Optimizing Supply of PPE in Shortage Situations (CDC)
- Use of Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®) and Azithromycin for COVID-19
- COVID-19 FAQs (medSask)
- Guide to Local Production: WHO-recommended Handrub Formulations (World Health Organization)
- See medSask “Drug Shortages” for list of drugs that are unavailable